Posted by: slow study | June 19, 2010

Communicating with a 6-yr-old

Illustration #1
 
Anne, slamming paper and a pencil before me: You are going to write a letter to Jessica and Rachel’s mom.
 
Janet: I don’t have their addresss.
 
A: We just take it to the post office.
 
J: I don’t have their address.

 A: Then, when they get the letter, you stay home for 6 days and wait for them to call.

J: I DON’T HAVE THEIR ADDRESS.
 
A: Now WRITE THIS LETTER.
 
J: I’m NOT going to write this letter. I have no address to mail it.
 
A: You are going to invite them to a SpongeBob party at my house.
 
A: DO IT NOW.
 
J: YOU ARE ASKING ME TO DO SOMETHING THAT CANNOT BE DONE.
 
Anne throws pen at Janet.
………………………………………………………………………………………………………
 
Illustration #2
 
Anne:  I want toast.
 
Janet:  I’m making dinner right now.  You can have some fruit.
 
A:  Okay.
 
J:  What kind of fruit do you want?  We have grapes, strawberries and peaches.
 
A:  Cantaloupe.
 
J:  We don’t have cantaloupe.
 
J:  We have grapes, strawberries and peaches.
 
A:  What?
 
J:  Grapes, strawberries and peaches.
 
A:  What?
 
J:  Oh, forget it!!
Posted by: slow study | June 7, 2010

Diet Update

I reached my goal weight at the end of April.

Both of my daughters had the same reaction:  Now you don’t have to keep track of points anymore!  You can go back to eating normally again!

Uh, not exactly.

I look at it this way.  Let’s say a person climbs to the top of a mountain.  She gets to the top and celebrates, but she can’t exactly call it quits there.  She still has to go back DOWN the mountain, get to where her car is parked, drive home, unpack, do mountains of laundry, make dinner, drive the kids to their various activities, break up fights between the kids, make more meals, run errands…  Basically, the journey continues.  Life continues.

My dieting journey continues, and for the past 6 weeks I have been on the “maintenance” phase of the Weight Watchers plan. 

If my behavior has been any indication, “maintenance” means eating like a dog that has been let off its leash. 

WW has a slightly different definition, of course.

Okay, let’s say I had actually followed the plan. I was SUPPOSED to increase my daily points for a week, see if I gained/lost weight, and then make slight adjustments.  Increase daily points if I lost weight; cut back on points if I gained weight.   The idea is to find the daily points limit that will keep me at my goal weight. 

What I did for 6 weeks:  ate my daily points, my bonus points and more.  The highlights of “more” included various binges on brownies, pizza,  french fries, Jimmy John’s bread… 

Somewhat recently, I found out that Jimmy John’s (sandwich shop) sells day-old loaves of bread for 45 cents each.  The bread is stacked up on the counter and a person can go in and buy them.

Yessssssss.

In case you’ve never tried it, Jimmy John’s bread is a little bit sweet.  And delicious.

I went in one afternoon and bought three loaves.  You know, for the family.

I hadn’t planned on eating any, but thought:  I’ll just have one taste.

Yeah, right.

Even though it is a great deal money-wise, it is NOT a great deal for someone who doesn’t do anything in moderation. 

And for someone on Weight Watchers.

I ate one loaf all by myself.  

Er…actually it was more than one. 

It might have been two.

Two and a half?

I know Anne got a little bit…

Let’s just say that Jimmy John’s bread is now on the off-limits list.

If you are the kind of person who can have a little taste of something and then leave it alone, consider yourself fortunate.  I am NOT one of those people.

For me to stay under control, I need to completely avoid certain foods.  Top offenders include ice cream, pancakes, macaroni and cheese, and let’s all welcome our newest addition:  Jimmy John’s bread!  Surprisingly, black licorice also made the list.  I hadn’t eaten black licorice in years but picked up a bag on a whim recently and WOW.  I hit it and I hit it hard. A 1-lb bag of licorice  – pfffft.  Gone in 2 days.

I have no current plans to give up Diet Coke.  But I can quit whenever I want…

Overall, I must say that tracking has really been helpful with my weight loss.  I write down everything I eat, from the tiny taste of Amy’s disgusting protein bar to the swipe of brownie batter.  I keep recording long after I’ve gone over my daily allowance and my bonus points.  Everything is accounted for – my successes and failures.

It has made me much more mindful of my eating. And I guess it has improved my alliteration, too.

Tracking has also revealed my strange eating patterns.  I can go back at any time and review my food phases, most notably, overdoses of Quaker Rice Cake minis and Jell-O pudding (sugar-free/fat-free, of course); also the many times I cleared out my points early in the day and was left soberly eating a bowl of broccoli for dinner.

My current odd habit is the frequent use of Fiber One.  You know – the cereal that looks like twigs.  Or “natural” cat litter (thanks, Amy, for pointing out the latter comparison while I was eating the cereal).

Fiber One has a kagillion grams of fiber per serving, and unless you are accustomed to a lot of fiber in your diet, it is advised that you add it s-l-o-w-l-y, lest it become Colon Blow.

When I first tried it, I wasn’t put off by the taste.  I like bran, and Fiber One is kind of sweet-tasting.

And when I calculated out the WW points, it came out to zero points for one serving.

Zero points.

This registered in my mind as, UNLIMITED FIBER ONE.

I started dumping it in yogurt.  Mixing it with applesauce.  Eating it dry.  Eating mass amounts of it.  It was my new way of getting to eat a ton of food without consequences.  I like volume.  I like not having to stop.

Now, before you start laughing at the possible digestive consequences, let me stop you.  Yes, the fiber content kept things moving along, but nothing exciting happened.  I mean, I wasn’t launched to the moon or anything.

The thing I found out later, is that Fiber One does indeed have points.

I think I became the only person in the history of the world to gain weight from eating Fiber One.

Lesson learned.

Fiber One servings are now diligently recorded.

The next part of the journey really should include some regular exercise.

Too bad dragging my feet doesn’t count as cardio.

Posted by: slow study | June 3, 2010

McDonald’s Diet Coke

Some people go to Starbucks for a daily fix.  Me?  I’m the one hauling through the McDonald’s drive-thru.

I may have a bit of a problem when it comes to their Diet Coke.  I’m kind of…addicted. 

And not just to the pop.  To the whole experience.

I LOVE that I can get a large for a buck (plus tax).  Every McD has “any size tea or soft drink for $1” during the summer, but this is not the case in the off-season. I get really giddy when I find a location that charges $1 year-round.  I will drive out of my way if I know the drinks are a dollar.

I like rifling through the coin tray in my minivan, trying to locate a nickel and a penny so I will have the exact amount when I hand over my $1.06.  The next best coin arrangement is a dime and a penny, so I will get a nickel back in change.  That way I’m prepped for the next visit.

I like the snapping sound as I tear the paper off the straw.  Some people like to blow through the end of the straw to make the remaining wrapper shoot off like a rocket; not me.  Don’t get me wrong – I’ll do it if Amy is in the car with me, but I don’t need that much excitement.  The snapping sound alone makes me happy.

I love when I take my first sip, that there is the possibility a tiny bit of ice will come up through the straw with the pop.  This doesn’t always happen, so when it does, the experience is all the sweeter.  The mere anticipation of ice is a thrill.

I like the condensation that beads up on the outside of the plastic cup.  I have back-up napkins in the car to wrap around my drink.

Ice-cold is preferred and is the ideal; however, I will nurse a large Diet Coke for hours.  All day sometimes.  I’ll drink it flat and I’ll drink it warm.  It isn’t off-putting.

It is in my best interest to have food (preferably protein) in my stomach before I begin a Diet Coke.  I am prone to shakes, dizziness, headaches and even nausea from caffeinated beverages on an empty stomach.  Still, it doesn’t stop me from going back for more.

My favorite food to pair up with McD Diet Coke?  Rold Gold Honey Wheat Braided Twists (pretzels).  Eight twists = two WW points.

My personal record for number of McD Diet Cokes in one day – two.  Yes, I amaze even myself.

And to finish off this grand, strange list:  a personal favorite reason to love McD Diet Coke – zero calories, baby.

Posted by: slow study | May 16, 2010

Bulgarian Lavender

I’ve been cleaning closets this weekend.

And I came across some items that had been tossed way in the back.

“WITH BULGARIAN LAVENDER” boasts the bottle of expensive hair product.  That must be a good thing, if the company put the words in all caps and highlighted it in a  purple rectangle at the top of the container.

What do I know.  I pick my hair products with stringent standards:  They are cheap.  They smell good.

With the selection of this costly hair product, I was deviating from the norm. 

……………………………………………………………………………………

My hair has been out of control for a long time.  For years I’ve asked curly-haired folks what their recipe for order is. 

One person gave me a four-step process.

Another gave me a five-step process.

Some of these formulas included time with a special hairbrush or a diffuser on the hairdryer…

Sigh.

Thing is, I am lazy and I also don’t want to spend a lot of cash on hair products.

In an ideal world, I would wash and condition my hair and be done with it.

Er, that is pretty much what I do currently.

But my hair looks like it was combed with an egg beater.

And of course none of the shared magic formulas are simple or inexpensive.  No one ever says, “Use Suave shampoo and you are good to go.”

Everything involves a lengthy process.

I kinda tense up when effort and follow-through are  involved.

And I blanch at the thought of spending $6.99 for three ounces of product.

……………………………………………………………………………………………

At the time the Bulgarian Lavender item was being procured, maybe two years ago, it wasn’t costing me, so I felt more at ease.  I had a gift certificate.  And I was buying it from some salon/spa.  See, this gift certificate was muscled on me in the first place in order that I get a massage.  NOT my thing.  So I decided to spend the gift certificate on high-end hair products. 

Aveda products are expensive.  So they must be good.  And with the addition of Bulgarian Lavender…I was going to be over the top good.

Thing is, back home, I discovered that I don’t like the smell of Bulgarian Lavender.

Not sure if Bulgaria is known for its lavender.  Or if that’s something they just put on the bottles because Americans don’t know any better.

The “Be Curly” Curl Enhancer didn’t make my hair look all that dazzling.  Or much different than it usually did, for that matter.

I never did get that special hairbrush.  Or a diffuser for the hairdryer I don’t even own.  I haven’t used a hairdryer in years.

Did I mention I’m lazy?

Eventually I found some fruity scented leave-in conditioner that works half-way decently with controlling the frizz.  I mean, my hair is still huge and untamed.  But it smells good. 

I’m okay with it.

Then –  I was cleaning out the closets and found the Bulgarian stuff.  A full bottle.  I know I had started with maybe four of them.  And slogged my way through.  But this one had been tossed in the back of the closet.  For good reason.

Sigh. 

Gotta use it up. 

It’s in my hair right now, stinking.

I’m not going to throw it away.  I just can’t waste the product.  It is expensive.  Yeah, I KNOW I didn’t pay for it.  But maybe the Bulgarians paid for it in the past, fighting wars over the right to have lavender farms and to grow their lavender without government interference.  Or something.

It wouldn’t be right to throw away a perfectly good product just because it doesn’t smell good or work particularly well.

And there are people in poor countries who would give an arm and a leg for a high-end specialty salon product designed for curly hair.

I will soldier on.

For the Bulgarians.

Posted by: slow study | April 23, 2010

Youth Retreat

I went on a youth retreat last weekend, with Amy and four other girls from our church.
 
Things went well. Amy only scolded me twice.
 
Once for letting the girls in our group see what my hair looked like unharnessed (apparently this will diminish Amy’s standing in the group somehow) and a second time for packing ugly shoes for her to do the service project.

We had been told ahead of time that we would be picking up trash or doing some painting – and to bring clothes for those scenarios.

I couldn’t find Amy’s tennis shoes.

So I packed a pair of my old Reeboks for her to wear. Nothing fancy. Leather, white, clean. 

She was mad.

Janet: I couldn’t find your tennis shoes.

Amy: They are at school in my gym locker.

Amy, annoyed: You should have told me to bring them home!

Amy: Why didn’t you pack my blue shoes?

Janet: I wasn’t going to pack $100 running shoes for you to wear painting.

Amy gave me a dirty look.

I didn’t even bother to respond. 

I have huge hair.  I am sensible.  Burdens I will have to bear for the rest of my life…

……………………………………………………………………………………………………….

We slept on the floor in a church, in sleeping bags.

I think I might have slept 12 minutes.

It was warm enough and the girls were quiet enough (all girls and female sponsors were in one big room) but there is no way to find a comfortable position on a hard floor.

Some of the girls snored. One talked in her sleep. One, I swear, must have crawled the entire length of the room and back in her sleeping bag – the rustling sound lasted that long. I didn’t even bother trying to see what was going on. It was dark and I can’t see without my glasses anyway. Surprisingly, I heard only one cough in the night.

The next morning, showers were available at a rec center a few miles away. 

Everyone in my group voted overwhelmingly in favor of not bathing. Worked for me.

…………………………………………………………………………..

During the retreat, Vegetarian Amy feasted on cheese pizza, a muffin, empty hamburger buns and fritos. The food of champions.

……………………………………………………………………………..

The kids liked the band that performed over the weekend. 

I, on the other hand, am old.  I guess I always have been old when it comes to live music.

We sat in the front row each time the band performed, directly in front of one of the speakers.  I think one of my fillings came loose.

Being a stodgy Baptist, I was hoping to be able to sit quietly. And not clap my hands.  And not jump up and down.  For the entire set.

But I went to youth camp last summer and knew this wasn’t going to be the case.  At summer camp the only time I got out of this duty was after I went to the ER, got a thigh-to-ankle leg brace and was on crutches.

So I clapped.  I stood.  I wore earplugs during the last set.

The speaker was good, and most of the small group sessions went well, but my favorite part of the weekend (and this is going to sound strange) was when we picked up trash for two hours for our service project.

Janet, to the man running the event:  Please tell me our group is picking up trash.

I wanted to be on trash duty instead of painting. He understood. I have two hyper girls I don’t trust with paint. Especially after I found one girl eating cake with her hands at Friday’s dinner, which parlayed into the two girls smearing cake frosting on each other’s faces.

We were shuttled to the campus of Saline High School.  Not only is it the largest high school in the state, it has a ginormous campus.

It was really cold and windy on Saturday. But the trash wasn’t blowing around. Most of it was matted to the grass or stuck in bushes.

My huge hair became huger (a word?) and I didn’t dare try to pull my hair out of my eyes or mouth with my hands because we were picking up the trash bare-handed. No gloves.

I hoped my hepatitis shots were up to date.

We started out as a group, but people sectioned off and I ended up with a woman named Heather. We had the same sense of humor and soon, the trash we found became very very funny.

Yeah, there were the expected gum wrappers and fast food bags, but we came across a few surprises.

I didn’t expect to find a tampon applicator in the high school parking lot.
 
Especially the part of the lot that is in view of an elementary school.
 
Janet: Hey Heather, can I have that Wendy’s french fry box you have there?
 
That cardboard box became a shovel. I was shoveling a sanitary product.
 
And then the jokes started.
 
Heather: I could commit a crime right now and get away with it because I’ve touched so much DNA today.
 
While we were picking up trash, an SUV drove right by us and opened up the window…to toss a large, full McD beverage onto the road. We watched the cup hit the ground, the lid/straw shoot off, the liquid go everywhere.

Uh yeah, thanks there.

Thanks for the mocking.

Janet, carefully picking up the lid/straw with a tissue, so as to not compromise the sample: Dude. We have your DNA. Prepare to be framed for a crime.

While we were picking around the bushes near the entrance of the high school, a man and his daughter exited the building. There must have been a dance recital or something. Lots of little kids with costumes were going in and out.

The man spotted us and deliberately steered his daughter in a different direction.

Don’t want to catch anything from the grimy garbage people.

Janet: I knew getting that degree in English would pay off someday.

The tampon applicator was a prized find, but the pink box marked PREGNANCY TEST was a close second. It was along the curb of the main drag, with a dried worm sticking out of the side.

Janet: When the stiff dead worm appears, that means “positive.”

Heather: A pregnancy test. That explains why we haven’t found any condoms.

Fun finds – hall passes.

Janet: I’m guessing “Bradley M.” did NOT go to the bathroom/get a drink. He came out here to smoke.

Janet, spotting a single use dental floss stick near the cigarette butts: I came out here to smoke AND floss.

Janet: My teeth are yellow from all the smoking, but my gums look great!

One of the girls in my group had picked up a dead bird.
 
Janet:  With your bare hands?
 
Girl:  No, I used another trash bag to pick it up.
 
I peeked into the bag and the wing span was huge. I wondered what kind of bird it was. The body was all bones, but the wings still had feathers attached.

I think I would have left a dead body on the ground.

You know, to just become one with the earth.
 
Because I have my standards with what I will pick up.
 
In the bus on the ride back (I forgot to mention we had all been shuttled to our work sites via school bus), I rode with my elbows resting on the seat in front of me, hands upward, like a surgeon.
 
Janet:  No one touch  me.  I’m not sterile.
 
(I didn’t share my garbage finds with Amy. But the next day she said to me, “You know what I found when I was picking up trash? Directions to a pregnancy test. And Josh  found the box that went with it!”)

Wow. Two pregnancy test boxes on the same high school campus.

……………………………………………………………………………………….
After the band performed their last song, a girl (not in my group) excitedly showed me her hand:  He signed my hand!  I’ll never wash it again!
 
Janet:  Who signed your hand?
 
Girl, sighing:  The bass player.  AND he signed my shirt.
 
Janet:  Which one is the bass player?
 
Heather:  The one who ISN’T forty.
 
Girl:  He looks like a leprechaun.
 
Janet:  A leprechaun.  Yeah, that’s how I pick my men.
……………………………………………………………………………
 
 And of course, back at home,  Anne had been very good for Shawn. He said Anne let him sleep in until 10:30 on Saturday and then she played with her toys by herself most of the day. No whining or complaining. And because it was cold out, the only time they left the house was to grocery shop.

Shawn: She never bothered me. It was like she wasn’t even here.

Posted by: slow study | April 10, 2010

Trip to the mall

Should have brought my gas mask and ear plugs to the mall this afternoon.

…and more money.

Amy and I went to Hollister.

Hollister is a store for teens/20s. It is set up like a surf shack in Southern California. That part is fine. But the music is deafening, the place is strong with cologne (the workers spray it right on the merchandise) and it is dimly lit.
 

I sat in a chair right by the cash register and tried not to die a perfume-induced death. I watched a customer (a 14-yr-old girl wearing pajama bottoms, flip flops and an oversized sweatshirt) spray three different testers of body mist into the air.

I waited for the scent(s)  to reach me.  They did.

Gasp.

With my hand on my hand on my heart, I shouted to no one in particular:  I’m coming to join you, Elizabeth!

At this place, you can buy a wisp of a tank top for $15. Or a tiny sweater shrug for $40.
 
When it is time to make a purchase, the teen behind the counter will then yell over the din, WOULD YOU LIKE TO BUY SOME SO-CAL PERFUME? And I will yell, WHAT? And the girl will shout it all over again. Then while I am hollering, OF COURSE NOT. I’M 41 YEARS OLD, the song blasting over the loudspeakers will end and I will be shouting into silence.
 
I forgot about the part where I fight with my daughter that the clothes are too tight.
 
Or too low cut.
 
Or too thin.
 
Or too short.
 
Right when the paramedics were administering life-giving oxygen, Amy appeared and said, It’s too crowded in here. Can we come back later?
Posted by: slow study | April 10, 2010

Friday fun

The girls have been home all week.  Spring Break.  It’s been er…long.

My 6-yr-old and my 13-yr-old on Friday evening:

Anne (to Amy):  I’m going to pinch you!

Amy leaves the room.  Anne follows.

Next thing I know, Anne is running to me, crying.  She puts her head down and buries it in my stomach.

Anne:  I was trying to pinch her and she slapped me like this! 

Anne slaps the side of her thigh.

I try not to laugh.

Anne returns to the living room couch and gets up in Amy’s face.

Amy:  Will you stop it?  STOP READING MY EMAIL.  This is private.

Anne:  What?  It’s not like you’re trying to change your underwear.  It’s not privacy. 

Anne (running to me again, crying):  Amy is being rude! 

I turn my face away and try to stifle a laugh.

Amy laughs.

Anne (to Amy):  STOP LAUGHING.

Anne: MOM.  I’m serious.  DO SOMETHING.

Anne:  Amy is mean.  You should get rid of her.

Janet:  Aw – I’m keeping her.

Anne:  You mean you’re going to sell ME?  She’s the one being mean!

Anne (sitting at the kitchen table with Janet):  I wish she would leave so I could live my life in peace.

Janet:  Just give her some space.

Anne:  I’m TRYING to leave her alone.

Anne:  I just want to see what she’s doing!

Janet:  Curious, are you?

Anne:  That’s the way I’m supposed to be.

Anne:  My whole life is miserable because Amy is in this stupid house with me.

Janet, to Amy:  You get mad at Anne for reading over your shoulder, but you are always reading my facebook stuff.

Amy (snorting):  That’s not private.

Posted by: slow study | April 9, 2010

Sparky

This morning I was at the kitchen table eating breakfast when a teary Anne appeared at my side.

Anne:  Sparky is missing.  You need to look for him.

I don’t even know who the heck Sparky IS.

Anne (now angry, along with the tears):  You know.  Sparky.  He’s a Webkinz.

Okay, that narrows it down to one of maybe 20+ animals we have laying around the house.

Most of Anne’s Webkinz have names that end in a “Y” or the “Y” sound.

Hence, Whitey, Blackie, Silvery, Sweetie, Alley (an alley cat), Amy (Amy was thrilled with that one), Draggy…

Very often we are regaled with stories about Draggy and his many travels.

Draggy is a leopard. 

Draggy has homes all over the world, has ridden The Dragster at Cedar Point numerous times, can drive a car.  And oh, the tales I could tell you about Draggy’s uncle

Anyway, back to Sparky.

Anne:  YOU KNOW.  I got him from Grandma.  For Christmas.

Oh yeah.  Now I remember.  Sparky is a beagle.

A beagle Anne hasn’t played with since December. 

Don’t mind me if I DON’T jump up and look for an animal you haven’t even thought about for 4 months.

Anne blinked and a tear slowly rolled down her cheek.

I wasn’t moved.

Anne can cry on demand.  She often pulls out the actress face and the waterworks over such horrors as a bowl of corn at dinner (which she likes) or being told to go to the bathroom before we leave the house.

I have also stopped jumping at Anne’s “urgent” requests. 

I’ve been called, yelling, from another room to come look at something, only to find that Anne has paused a picture on the TV screen, usually SpongeBob with his face frozen in a strange position.

I’ve been ordered to come kill a spider NOW, a spider that is on the OUTSIDE of the house, minding his own business.

Yesterday, while I was on the phone, Anne demanded that I get up and get her magic markers.  Markers that were sitting on a counter less than ten feet away. 

Oh yeah, I really give a rip about Sparky.

Janet:  Did you even look?

Anne:  I looked EVERYWHERE.

(Translation:  I glanced around one room for one second.)

Janet:  I’m finishing my breakfast first.

Down in the basement, I poked through a pile of toys with my foot.

I picked up a beagle.

Apparently, Sparky had been hiding in plain sight.  His camoflage outfit of pink jeans and a purple striped shirt helped him blend into his environment of rejected toys.

Posted by: slow study | April 6, 2010

Cookie bunny hutch

From the makers of terrible-tasting Gingerbread House, we now bring you terrible- tasting Chocolate Cookie Bunny Hutch!

Ah Walmart, you got me.  Twice.

However, it doesn’t really matter what *I* think of these craptastic food projects.  And I use the word “food” very loosely here.

Anne LOVES them.

She loves the horrid frosting and the junky decorative candy pieces and even the stale cookie frame.

This is the kind of stuff that I know tastes terrible without even trying it.

At Christmas, the Gingerbread House came in pre-baked pieces.  You, the skilled builder, use frosting to hold the walls and roof together.  This takes a lot of frosting and a lot of patience, because the pieces don’t fit flush and the roof slowly starts getting a cavernous gap that just expands as time goes on…

Anne was thrilled with the whole undertaking and happily sampled each red and green chemical-laden decorative candy piece. 

She didn’t notice that my “lattice” frosting pattern on the roof was crooked.  And that some lines were thicker than others.  And that too much frosting was used in places and the decorative candy was sliding down the walls of the house.

I saw a pathetic shanty.

Anne saw a beautiful Christmas house.

Still, I had to taste the thing, because, well, it was gingerbread, after all.  At least that was what the box claimed.

Anne:  MMMMMMMMMM! 

Janet (thinking, I bet this was baked a year ago): hmmmm.

So of course Shawn and I couldn’t pass up the new version of the Gingerbread House, conveniently re-purposed for Easter.

It’s the same house.  But the candy is pastel-colored this time.  And the frosting is pink and yellow.  And you get a little candy bunny.

I’m guessing people must have complained about the Gingerbread House not staying together, because this version came already assembled.

Janet:  What is that, caulk?

Shawn:  It isn’t caulk.

But he kept pushing on the frosting and it didn’t dent.

Janet:  It’s caulk.

Anne:  What’s caulk?

Shawn:  Mom’s just being silly.  It’s frosting.

Step 1 – Making the Icing

“Ideal for decorating your bunny hutch, decorator icing dries hard and lasts for weeks without softening.”

Wow.

I whipped up a batch of pink (“icing will not be fluffy, but will be the consistency of toothpaste”)  and Anne and I slathered it onto the roof with a spatula.  “Icing sets quickly, so keep bowl covered with a damp cloth at all times to prevent drying.”   Yeah, I’m not going to do the damp cloth part.

The models on the box were a tough act to follow.  “Blooming Manor,”  “Flower Medley Manor” and “Polka Dot Paradise” were obviously done by skilled professionals.  And not using the frosting we were provided with.

Anne bypassed those options and went for her own version: “Stick candy everywhere with no discernable pattern, eating every third piece and licking frosting off fingers between each candy placement.”

Pink goo oozed over the edges off the roof.

Anne glady remedied the drips using the swipe and lick method.

I wonder what happens to icing that “dries hard and lasts for weeks without softening” when it gets inside a kid’s stomach? 

Also, what will it do to my pipes?   I rinsed the leftover icing down the garbage disposal.

The yellow frosting was a particularly difficult medium to work with, as it refused to stay on the cookie walls.  I was trying to make a door and windows.  The yellow put up a good fight. I finally wrangled it into a poorly-made door with an arched top and four uneven round(ish) windows.  Anne didn’t seem to notice that I had been unable to re-create the square windows with curtains a la “Polka Dot Paradise.”

She was too busy eating gumdrops.

Anne:  I LOVE gumdrops.

And candy flowers.

Anne:  I like the pink flowers the best!

Anne excitedly showed off the finished project to Shawn.

Shawn:  Can we taste it?

Anne:  I want some too!

Shawn: MMMMM.

Anne: MMMMMMMMMM.

Janet:  Is it me, or is this the same cookie from the Gingerbread House?

Posted by: slow study | April 5, 2010

Easter eggs and a great idea

On Saturday we did the obligatory Easter egg hunt (the postcard that came to the house claimed there were 8,000 eggs) and as soon as we got back, Anne wanted to hide all the candy through the house and have me look for it. I’m a One Event And I’m Done For The Day kind of gal, so I tried to put her off.

At the same time, Shawn came up with a brilliant idea how to get the huge grill off our deck – prop a long folding table over the stairs like a slide and then roll the grill down onto the grass.

Sometime during the winter, the wind blew the grill down to the lower level of the deck and slammed it onto its side – we’re talking a drop of a couple of inches – but it was enough to dent the grill and do something internally so that when the pilot light was lit, flames shot out of ventilation holes right above the dials. Time to spend a lot of $ on repairs or just get a new one.

I thought Shawn’s plan sounded like a horrible idea. And he wanted Amy to assist him. Skinny 100 pounds (maybe) Amy.  I’m like, No. Go ask one of the neighbor men to help you get the grill down the stairs.

He wouldn’t.

So I went to help him.

The folding table (still folded) didn’t cover all the stairs.  The top step was still showing.

Shawn, surveying the scene:  That’s steeper than I thought it would be.

I pictured the grill careening into one of the handrails and spindles and smashing them to bits.

I pictured the grill flipping over and pinning Shawn onto his back at the bottom of the stairs.

I pictured the grill landing on the cat.   This was a distinct possibility since Milo was sitting at the bottom of the steps, wildly interested in sniffing the edges of the folding table.

Shawn:  My shoes seem kind of slippery on the bottoms.

Janet:  That’s great.

We tipped the silver monster over the top exposed step and in the process, gouged some hunks out of the deck.

The grill raced down to the lawn without further complication.

Shawn wanted congratulations.

Janet: I don’t care if it worked. It was still a terrible idea.

Then the grill wouldn’t roll over the lawn. We flipped the folded table over and put the grill on top. Tried to drag the whole thing like a sled. Didn’t work.  Maybe because the folding table weighs 34097237 pounds.  Maybe because the grill weighs 23094739874 pounds.  Maybe because we were trying to move the whole thing over a soft squishy lawn.  Maybe because grills were never meant to joyride on the underside of folding tables in the first place.

Janet:  Let’s remove the propane tank.

The grill was slightly lighter after being liberated from the propane tank.  At least I imagined it was lighter.   We ended up half-lifting, half-dragging the hulking thing out to the garage.

Shawn’s next idea: put the grill on CraigsList because maybe someone wants to buy a dented grill that doesn’t work with filthy plates and no propane tank.  And if you add your own propane tank and light the pilot light, flames shoot out of the wrong place.

Yeah.

I’d pay good money for that.

Back inside, I ended up looking for Easter candy throughout the living room. Anne helpfully pointed out each hiding place.

Then I had to do the Freeze Dance to a Hilary Duff song.

Sigh.

I thought for sure I would get out of coloring eggs because neither of the kids had remembered.

Then Shawn took Anne to Walmart with him and guess who spotted the Easter egg display when they first walked in?

Sigh.  By 4pm I was standing at the stove, boiling eggs.

 Anne: I WANT TO GO OUT. I WANT RITZ CRACKERS. WHEN ARE WE GOING TO COLOR EGGS?

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